for archival description, the archival profession has interacted increasingly closely with the worlds of both bibliographic and museum description. Taking both of these trajectories into account, multiple ways have been proposed, therefore, to identify and operationalize metadata in information and cultural heritage contexts (e.g., administrative, descriptive, preservation, technical, use) and to characterize it (e.g., source of metadata, method of metadata creation, nature of metadata, metadata status, structure, semantics and level) (Gilliland, 2016). Archival and recordkeeping preoccupations today engage explicitly or implicitly with all of these ways. Distinctively, archivists and other recordkeepers are concerned with bureaucratic accountability and transparency, as well as with the preservability of legal, historical and cultural evidence. These concerns set a particularly high bar for the continual management of trustworthy metadata necessary to audit recordkeeping systems and practices and validate and (re)produce records. Nevertheless, despite archival science being a field that is given to reflecting upon and developing its theoretical base, the extent to which archives and recordkeeping were overtly engaged with metadata beyond description was not appreciated until the archival science and other recordkeeping fields had to confront the management of electronic records. When records were predominantly in paper form, their manifestations and nature seemed to be more self-apparent and were less subject to conceptual analysis about their identity and constitution. One important exception to this assertion should be noted, however, and that is the diplomatic analysis of the genesis, form, transmission and documentary context of individual documents. The development and application of diplomatic techniques, notably in and after the seventeenth century, initially sought to determine the authenticity of mediaeval charters and thus the validity of legal claims contained therein. In the nineteenth century diplomatic techniques became more specialized as they expanded to support the historical analysis and authentication of many other common and emerging types of records though an examination of elements such as the acts, actors, form, dates, copies and versions, and seals associated with the document in hand in addition to the likely veracity of the information that it contained. Diplomatic ideas and techniques were extended to twentieth century documents (Carucci, 1987) and by the end of the twentieth century by Duranti in the form of 'contemporary archival diplomatics' to address aggregations of records (i.e., rather than individual documents or instances of record types) as well as records that had been born-digital (1998). With electronic records a key consideration is that there is not necessarily any physical object in hand to manage, describe or make available, and sometimes there is only the capacity to render or recreate a record virtually: "[Electronic records] are [often] heterogeneous distributed objects comprising selected data elements that are pulled together by activity- related metadata such as audit trails, reports, and views through a process prescribed by the business function for a purpose that is juridically required." (Gilliland-Swetland Eppard, 2000) In other words, they are intellectually complex and contingent objects to identify and move forward through time and migrations without compromising their authenticity, and thus need to be described as a conceptual as well as a virtual object, and in relation to all of their contingencies. The first usages and glossary definitions of 'metadata' in the field unsurprisingly therefore did not derive from how metadata was being conceived in the information organization fields. Rather they emanated out of understandings that had developed from analyzing and (re)designing government electronic recordkeeping systems in the 1980s so that they could capture and exploit both static and dynamic process metadata necessary for evidentiary, accountability and preservation purposes (United Nations ACCIS, 1990). In 1993 Wallace argued that a metadata systems approach could provide solutions to many of the problems that had been identified with managing records produced by electronic systems. He synthesized many of the advantages of this approach that had been recognized by those engaged in electronic records management: "(1) capture and preservation of records context (evidence); (2) preservation of systems and record structure; (3) generation and retention of relevant descriptive information; (4) incorporation of appraisal and disposition data; (5) life cycle management of records; (6) preservation and migration of system functionality; and (7) creation of inventory/locator systems for organizational information resources" (p. 88). Wallace subsequently also noted the definition used by the 1989 Society of American Archivists (SAA) Working Group on Standards for Archival Description: "[the] process of capturing, collating, analyzing, and organizing and information that serves to identify, manage, locate, and interpret the holdings of archival institutions and explain the contexts and records systems from which those holdings were selected" (Wallace, 1996, p. 17-18). He argued for the potential for the automated creation and capture of descriptive metadata out of appropriately designed electronic recordkeeping systems, thus beginning the embedding of a metadata consciousness across all areas of archival and recordkeeping activity in order to support "record identification, access, understandability, interpretation, authenticity, and ongoing management" (Wallace, 1993, p. 100; Wallace, 1996, p. 18; Hedstrom, 1993). The UBC and InterPARES research projects (Duranti, 1997;; have applied Duranti's diplomatics approach to delineate mechanisms for ensuring the reliability and authenticity of electronic records, focusing on intrinsic and extrinsic elements of documentary form, annotations, context (encompassing juridical-administrative, provenancial, administrative, procedural, documentary and technological) and medium (MacNeil, 2016). InterPARES research found that many of the requirements diplomatically established for creating reliable and preserving authentic electronic records: could potentially be implemented through metadata and archival description, particularly such aspects as identity, linkages, documentation of documentary forms, juridical requirements, business rules and technical procedures, access privileges, establishment of the authoritative record when multiple copies exist and transfer of relevant documentation." (Duranti Preston, 2008, p. 13) Testing this assertion, InterPARES developed a metadata specification model for its Chain of Preservation (i.e., the records life cycle) model. They defined 'metadata' as a machine or human-readable assertion about a resource relating to records and their resources, and descriptive metadata was defined as those categories of metadata carried forward to be used as evidence for archival description. Speaking to the archives in liquid times 216 anne j. gilliland 'the wink that's worth a thousand words': a contemplation on the nature of metadata and metadata practices in the archival world 217

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